UNINSURED: Local Efforts Pick Up Where Feds Left Off
A new survey reveals that "as the problem of inadequate health coverage has gotten worse, concerted citizen action at the community level is growing," as more than 640 communities have established local coalitions to deal with the problem of the uninsured. "Action Where it Counts: Communities Responding to the Challenge of Health Care for the Uninsured," was conducted by the Access Project, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Brandeis University's Heller Graduate School. The survey obtained data from 1,600 respondents engaged in local access work. Catherine Dunham, the project's director, said, "Experience has taught us that local initiatives have picked up the pieces of a broken national healthcare system that seems unable to deal effectively with the increasing economic, health, and social fall-out from so many millions of our neighbors living without adequate health care." The local efforts typically focused on obtaining coverage for the uninsured by changing public and private policy, increasing access to local health services by changing the policies of healthcare providers and improving public health and prevention. Of the respondents, 76% reported participating in community coalitions, while 25% reported participation in coalitions with business organizations as members, making small businesses key allies in the push to expand coverage. Dunham added, "The survey report confirms and documents the importance of community action to provide solutions to a major national issue like lack of health care" (Access Project release, 6/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.